Thursday, June 23, 2022
US Conference of Catholic Bishops
WASHINGTON | Religious freedom allows the Church, and all religious communities, to live out their faith in public and to serve the good of all. Beginning June 22, the feast of Sts. Thomas More and John Fisher, the USCCB invites Catholics to pray, reflect, and act to promote religious freedom.
The theme for Religious Freedom Week 2022 is Life and Dignity for All.
June 23: Church vandalism
That Christian witness in the face of attacks on our churches will convert hearts to faith in Jesus Christ.
Beginning in May of 2020, an apparent wave of vandalism and arson hit Catholic churches and statues. Vandals entered churches and desecrated sanctuaries. Just days before the Solemnity of Immaculate Conception, the feast of our nation’s patron saint, a man damaged a statue of Our Lady of Fatima at the Rosary Garden of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. There have been at least 120 attacks so far, and that number steadily continues to grow. Several attacks have involved the destruction of pro-life displays and graffiti with pro-abortion messages.
Attacking sacred places —whether through damage to physical property or by projecting pro-abortion messages on a church while people pray for an end to abortion, as activists did in Washington, DC and New York in January— harms all people of faith, for the very nature of sacred spaces is that they are set apart and treated with respect. Attacks on houses of worship undermine life and dignity for all. The civic peace of a pluralistic society requires that people are free to worship without fear.
Catholic communities have expressed their faith through their sacred art and architecture. Cathedrals, parish buildings, and devotional art all testify to the strength and hope of these diverse communities. How has this legacy affected you? Share an image of your favorite church building or devotional art with us on Twitter! @USCCBFreedom #ReligiousFreedomWeek.